CIBC profit rises on Aeroplan deal, bank hikes dividend.
* Ex-items EPS C$2.31 vs est C$2.16
* Lending profits, cards deal drives profit
* Dividend raised by 2 pct
TORONTO, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said on Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped by 50 percent, driven by stronger domestic lending profits and a C$183 million gain on the sale of half of its Aeroplan credit card portfolio to Toronto-Dominion Bank.
CIBC, Canada's fifth-largest bank, also raised its dividend by 2 percent.
The bank earned C$1.18 billion ($1.06 billion), or C$2.88 a share, in the fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 31. That compared with a year-before profit of C$785 million, or 1.88 a share.
Excluding the impact of the Aeroplan deal and other smaller items, the bank earned C$2.31 a share. Analysts had expected a profit of C$2.16 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
CIBC agreed in September to sell about half of its Aeroplan Visa card portfolio in a deal that avoided a potential legal battle over the right to issue the valuable flight rewards card.
Profit at CIBC's Canadian retail and business bank surged 29 percent to C$746 million, while its wealth management division earned C$114 million, up 28 percent on the year.
Wholesale banking income, which includes trading, investment banking and advisory fees, rose 26 percent to C$264 million.
CIBC also said it raised its quarterly dividend by 2 Canadian cents to 98 Canadian cents a share.
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